Last weekend I stepped to the starting line of a marathon for he first time in a few years. My recent absence had not been a choice, but rather the result of an injury that refused to heal. I have been physically active and healthy my whole life, but my Achilles’ heel turned out to be my right ankle. After injuring it at the end of a half marathon two and a half years ago, it had taken me longer than I ever expected to get back to this point.
At 6 am, the starting gun sounded and the people much faster than myself raced out of the corral. The sky was still dark and layered with thick clouds and the air was cool and a little humid. Other than the humidity, the conditions were ideal. Only about 5,000 runners actually lined up for the full marathon, an amount that makes for smooth running and limited congestion. I crossed the starting line at 6:03 am with my head down and my music on, looking to find my rhythm and get lost in the sea of footsteps. From the beginning of the race, I never quite felt right. My legs were heavy and my feet felt like bricks. My stride was awkward and my pacing was inconsistent. Even when you know what you are doing, have a plan, and know how to execute it things can go wrong.